Monday, April 03, 2006
Time for an update and a few observations
Pretty as the snow is, this is some treacherous stuff to walk through. I went up this past Sunday . . . not to soak . . . there were enough people up there already. I was on an inspection walk about to see how the BPA road was faring and also to get an idea of the snow conditions still remaining up at Scenic despite it being April already.
The ice berm is still firmly in place across the entrance of the forest service road. It's hard to tell but that's a good four feet of compacted and refrozen snow and ice . . . and it extends a good part of the way up the road.
Obviously, it will be some time before anyone parks here. I had toyed with the idea of getting some volunteers together to dismantle the berm but on second thought, that's a lot of ice and snow.
The only safe parking is in the sno-park area down the highway. On this particular Sunday afternoon, I also noticed several cars parked in the chainup area just east. I met the two couples coming out and after chastising them about hiking about in jeans and sneakers, wished them luck that a State Patrol officer hadn't come by and given them tickets . . . or had them towed (it's illegal to park your car in a chainup area for more than fifteen minutes).
The snow and ice is four feet deep at the entrance. It is not much less on the forest service road, itself. The gate horizontal sits three and a half feet off the road surface and the snow almost reaches it. Why go around when you can simply step right over the gate.
Fortunately, the snowshoers (prolly Kimba and company) have compacted a trail over this mess. Stay in it or you're going to find yourself 'postholing' right up to your crotch!
Stay in the tracks, obviously!
Here's the traps Mother Nature has laid for us. Erosion channels pepper the roads . . . some as much as two feet deep. But with two to three feet of evened out snow covering everything, you can't see these weakened spots on the snowpack (unless they've already collapsed like the one above.) As water (from new melt or the springs) weakens from beneath you have a mini-crevasse bridge just waiting to give way. They are no fun to fall into, besides getting soaking wet. I fell into one eight feet deep up in the Tunnel Creek area a couple of years ago. Thankfully I had a full change of clothing and nothing was broken or bruised except my aura on invincibility.
There are four major cuts on the upper BPA road (a running stream near the first tower, Main Creek, Meadows Creek and Honeymoon Creek). There are a number of minor ones as well so it is best to stick with the established track and probe ahead with a stick for soft spots and hidden mini-creavasses. I didn't take the trail on up to the springs (running out of time and daylight) but Bob informs me that the creeks are doing the same thing on the trail . . . and in some cases, running down the trail instead of across as we'd like. Bob and myself are going to attempt to redirect a few sometime this week.
Main Hot Spring Creek near the BPA road . . . which is what I went up there to check. Seems to fare fine. Honeymoon seems to be okay on the BPA segment as well but springs thaw will be the catcher on that.
Some observations: The springs are only a degree or two off but that doesn't surprise me as we haven't had any real snowmelt yet, and the cycle is usually around two weeks before melt is reflected in a drop in temperature.
The pool is in good condition thanks to Bob who keeps and eye on it. Someone has been messing with the sources again and if I catch whomever . . . well you catch the drift. The source connectors for Bear Den Springs are cracked and disconnected. They need replacement.
I was surprised at the number of people braving the deep snow to get up there. Some of you do not belong . . . not that I begrudge the attempt or desire. You simply are not dressed and prepared. Cotton Kills! Try to get that through your heads.
Finally, it seems the Ukranian Gang is back up to their tricks at the springs . . . taking over, bossing people around. I catch you guys up there and you can be guaranteed a visit from the sheriff! There have been too many compliants and I will not put up with any group attempting to usurp the owner and his guests from enjoying the place. Stay out!